Tag Archives: john billington

Happy Thanksgiving!

Because it’s the season, here’s a compilation of all my previous posts on Thanksgiving and this time of the year. My favorite part of the holiday is proclaiming the family’s relationship to John Billington, a Mayflower wayfarer who shot his neighbor in a land dispute and was then executed by the powers that be. I’m fairly certain we’ve turned Thanksgiving into National Civil Disobedience Awareness day, because we, as a family, aren’t afraid to let you know when you’re being an idiot, but sometimes we forget to play nice when we work for you, and there’s a small nonexistent chance that was the same for Billington.

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And so without further ado, in order of most recent to oldest, my Thanksgiving Day posts

Book Review of The Mayflower: A Story of Community, Courage, and War: featuring the Mayflower story and more interestingly, King Philip’s War that the second generation were involved with

So You Think You Know The Pilgrims : featuring an expansion on the themes brought up during the History Film Forum

History Film Forum : featuring a gratuitous history conference and a screening of Ric Burns’ The Pilgrims, an account of the first colony from the perspective of its leader, William Bradford

Turkey Day: a summary of the origins of the holiday, with excerpts from both Washington’s and Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamations

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So You Think You Know the Pilgrims …

One of the events of the History Film Forum in November was an advance screening of The Pilgrims, the newest documentary by Ric Burns. My primary interest in this was to see how they treated my family’s direct ancestor John Billington, infamous for being a knave and a scoundrel, but I was also curious to see how Ric Burns could give the Thanksgiving story the same thorough treatment he and his brother Ken had given The Civil War.

Because even the director-Mr. Burns himself, and the Film Forum program director acknowledged that the Pilgrims are not where one looks for a dramatic Thanksgiving story. We all know what happens, right? The Pilgrims set sail for America in search of religious freedom, struggled through the first winter, and were saved by the friendly and benevolent Indians, who fed them turkey and squash, together thriving into Massachusetts colony (later the Commonwealth of Massachusetts).

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Welllllllllll, yeah sort of not really.

[  For an interview with the director, click here. I want to quote that entire article. Go read it before you click for more below. ]

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Turkey Day

I meant to post this earlier, but things happened, like turkey, NaNo, and all the stuff I’ve left at my parents’ house showing up on my doorstep, which sadly had all the things I didn’t want and none of the things I did want.

Back to the topic at hand: As everyone knows (I hope), the “first” Thanksgiving was celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts by the Pilgrims, who were celebrating a bountiful harvest after a couple of rough years in which many of them died from starvation and disease.  What helped them survive the next year was the assistance of the Wampanoag tribe, and Squanto of the Patuxent people, who taught them about agriculture and planting and things.  I remember seeing a picture in elementary school of Squanto planting dead fish with corn seeds and of the Pilgrims looking on in awe.  As the dead fish decayed, they would provide vital nutrients for the growing corn plants.  Mmm dericious.

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